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David Schwimmer

David Schwimmer

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Also Known As: David Lawrence Schwimmer Died:
Born: November 2, 1966 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Queens, New York, USA Profession: actor, director, playwright

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Having gone from relative obscurity to a household name virtually overnight, actor David Schwimmer achieved small screen stardom thanks to the overwhelming success of "Friends" (NBC, 1994-2004), one of the most popular and successful sitcoms ever made. As Ross Geller, the geeky paleontologist and heartbroken romantic amongst a group of twenty-somethings trying to find their way in life, Schwimmer earned the sympathy and attention of audiences who bought into his on-again, off-again relationship with Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), which was perhaps the most talked-about aspect of the entire series. Though he had attained wild popularity thanks to the show, Schwimmer struggled like his other castmates - sans Aniston - to find similar success in the feature world. He had supporting roles in "Apt Pupil" (1998) and voiced a character in the hit animated film "Madagascar" (2005), yet the actor had to really find his footing outside of "Friends." He did, however, direct a well-regarded independent black comedy, "Run Fatboy, Run" (2007), which perhaps pointed to a future that not in front of the camera, but behind it.Born on Nov. 2, 1966 in Queens, NY, Schwimmer was raised by his father, Arthur, an...

Having gone from relative obscurity to a household name virtually overnight, actor David Schwimmer achieved small screen stardom thanks to the overwhelming success of "Friends" (NBC, 1994-2004), one of the most popular and successful sitcoms ever made. As Ross Geller, the geeky paleontologist and heartbroken romantic amongst a group of twenty-somethings trying to find their way in life, Schwimmer earned the sympathy and attention of audiences who bought into his on-again, off-again relationship with Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), which was perhaps the most talked-about aspect of the entire series. Though he had attained wild popularity thanks to the show, Schwimmer struggled like his other castmates - sans Aniston - to find similar success in the feature world. He had supporting roles in "Apt Pupil" (1998) and voiced a character in the hit animated film "Madagascar" (2005), yet the actor had to really find his footing outside of "Friends." He did, however, direct a well-regarded independent black comedy, "Run Fatboy, Run" (2007), which perhaps pointed to a future that not in front of the camera, but behind it.

Born on Nov. 2, 1966 in Queens, NY, Schwimmer was raised by his father, Arthur, an appellate lawyer, and his mother, Arlene, a divorce attorney who over the years handled the divorces of celebrities like Roseanne, Julianne Phillips and Elizabeth Taylor. After moving with his family to Los Angeles when he was two years old, Schwimmer had his first taste for acting at age 10, when he was cast as the fairy godmother in a Jewish version of "Cinderella." He continued to appear on stage at Beverly Hills High School, where his classmates included Jonathan Silverman. Schwimmer went on to attend Chicago's Northwestern University to earn his bachelor's in speech; during his senior year, he co-founded The Lookingglass Theater Company. After graduating in 1988, he returned to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career, landing the role of a Long Islander who murders his girlfriend's abusive father in "A Deadly Silence" (ABC, 1989). The actor returned to Chicago and devoted the next few years continuing to work with his theater company.

Heading back West, Schwimmer began to find roles on television, landing a recurring role as Olivia d'Abo's hippie boyfriend in the waning seasons of "The Wonder Years" (ABC, 1988-1993). Following his feature acting debut in the coming-of-age drama, "Crossing the Bridge" (1992), he had recurring roles as an ambitious lawyer on "L.A. Law" (NBC, 1986-1994) and an unstable mugging victim on "NYPD Blue" (ABC, 1993-2005). Schwimmer had his first regular series gig as the liberal son of a conservative talk show host in the failed Henry Winkler vehicle, "Monty" (Fox, 1993-94). In hindsight, the fast cancelation of that series proved to be fortuitous, since the following season he began his stint as Ross Geller on the long-running hit, "Friends," one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. Schwimmer successfully used his hangdog looks to portray Ross, the hopeless romantic of a group of six tight-knit friends who wile away in each other's apartments and the local coffee shop, Central Perk. Schwimmer's anxious delivery coupled with the somewhat nebbish manner made him a standout on the show, while his on-again, off-again relationship with Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), became the most talked-about storyline on the show. Though not as decorated as his co-stars, Schwimmer did earn an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 1995 and some of the biggest laughs, including his disastrous date in leather pants, when he said the wrong woman's name at the altar, and when he over-whitened his teeth to glow-in-the-dark effect. He also appeared to be the de facto leader of the bunch, being the one who insisted the entire cast negotiate their contracts together for the same amount, thereby avoiding no any ego clashes or early exits from the show. While he played Ross on camera, Schwimmer also helmed a few episodes of the iconic show.

During his run on "Friends," Schwimmer had his first leading role in a feature, playing an architect asked to deliver the eulogy for a high school friend he doesn't remember in "The Pallbearer" (1996). Critics dismissed the dark comedy as a pale imitation of "The Graduate" (1967) while audiences virtually ignored the film. He did have a rather unique turn in "Breast Men" (HBO, 1997), a docudrama in which he played one of the doctors responsible for introducing the world to silicone breast implants. But like most of his "Friends" castmates, Schwimmer struggled to translate his small screen appeal onto the big screen. But based on the strength of the show's success, he was signed to a multi-picture, non-exclusive deal by Miramax under which he directed "Since You've Been Gone" (ABC, 1998), a comedy about a 10-year high school reunion. Perhaps attempting to reposition himself in the marketplace, Schwimmer began accepting supporting roles in major releases like Bryan Singer's "Apt Pupil" (1998), based on a Stephen King novella, and Ivan Reitman's comedy "Six Days/Seven Nights" (1998), in which he played the noncommittal boyfriend of Anne Heche.

Schwimmer subsequently appeared opposite Woody Allen and Sharon Stone in Alfonso Arou's straight-to-cable comedic misfire "Picking Up the Pieces"(2000), had a terrific uncredited cameo in the underrated indie "Love & Sex" (2000), and took smaller roles in the ensembles of "The Thin Pink Line" (1998), "All the Rage" (1999) and Mike Figgis' "Hotel" (2001). He fared better on the small screen with roles as an Army captain in Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks' acclaimed HBO miniseries, "Band of Brothers" (2001), and as a Jew in the Warsaw ghetto in the cable network's powerful film, "Uprising" (2001). Also on HBO, he had a fine recurring stint playing an uptight version of himself during the 2004 season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (2001- ), where he was cast opposite Larry David in a stage version of Mel Brooks' "The Producers" and soon engaged in a caustic rivalry with his badgering co-star. Then after 10 highly-rated seasons, "Friends" finally came to close in 2004, with Ross' long-running relationship with Rachel ending with their reunion after what appeared to be their inevitable and permanent split.

With the show firmly in the past, Schwimmer set his sights on the future, directing episodes of the show's spin-off "Joey" (NBC, 2004- ) starring "Friends" co-star Matt LeBlanc. In 2005, he made his London stage debut at the Gielgud Theater in "Some Girls" opposite Lesley Manville and Saffron Burrows. He also voiced Melman the Giraffe in "Madagascar" (2005), Disney's animated adventure about four zoo animals who escape and inadvertently find themselves in Africa where the city slickers struggle to survive in the wild. After making his Broadway debut in a revival of Herman Wouk's "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" (2006), Schwimmer made his feature debut as a director with "Run Fatboy, Run" (2007), which starred Simon Pegg as an overweight man who tries to win back the fiancée (Thandie Newton) he left five years before by running a marathon. Following a guest episode of "30 Rock" (NBC, 2006- ) as an out-of-control environment mascot, he revived the voice of Melman for "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" (2008) and the Christmas special "Merry Madagascar" (NBC, 2009). Though taking time off from acting to direct the independent movie "Trust," Schwimmer was back in the news following his engagement to photographer Zoe Buckman, which the couple announced in March 2010.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Trust (2010)
3.
  Since You've Been Gone (1998) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Iceman, The (2012)
2.
 John Carter (2012)
3.
5.
 Big Nothing (2007)
6.
 Duane Hopwood (2005)
7.
 Hotel (2001) Jonathan Danderfine
8.
 Picking Up the Pieces (2000) Father Leo Jerome
9.
 Six Days, Seven Nights (1998) Frank Martin
10.
 Since You've Been Gone (1998) Robert S Levin
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Los Angeles, CA
1977:
Made acting debut as the fairy godmother in a Jewish version of "Cinderella"
1988:
Co-founded the Lookingglass Theater Company in Chicago, IL
:
Moved back to L.A. after graduating college to pursue acting career
1989:
TV-movie debut, "A Deadly Silence" (ABC)
:
After six months in L.A., returned to Chicago to work in theater
1991:
First recurring role in a series, as Olivia d'Abo's hippie boyfriend on "The Wonder Years" (ABC)
1992:
Feature acting debut, "Crossing the Bridge"
1992:
Landed recurring role as an ambitious lawyer on the NBC legal drama "L.A. Law"
1993:
Cast in a recurring role on the ABC drama "NYPD Blue" playing an unsteady mugging victim
1994:
Made debut as a TV series regular on the short-lived Fox sitcom "Monty"
1994:
Portrayed palaeontologist Dr. Ross Geller on NBC's hit ensemble comedy "Friends"; earned an Emmy nomination in 1995; directed several episodes throughout the show's ten-year run
1995:
Signed non-exclusive multi-picture deal with Miramax to participate in three films with an option for fourth
1996:
First starring role in a feature film, "The Pallbearer"
1996:
Made producing debut with the short "Shoot the Moon," written and directed by Tom Hodges
1997:
Co-starred with Chris Cooper in the HBO comedy "Breast Men"
1998:
Directed first TV movie, "Since You've Been Gone" (ABC); also acted in the film
1998:
Played supporting role opposite Harrison Ford and Anne Heche in romantic comedy "Six Days Seven Nights"
1998:
Starred opposite Jason Lee and Mili Avital in the comedy "Kissing a Fool"; also executive produced
2001:
Played featured role as Captain Herbert Sobel in the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers"
2004:
Directed episodes of the "Friends" spinoff "Joey" (NBC), starring Matt LeBlanc
2005:
Played an alcoholic whose life is spiraling out of control in "Duane Hopwood"; premiered at the Sundance Film Festival
2005:
Made London stage debut portraying a low-down, dirty womanizer in Neil LaBute's dark comedy "Some Girls"
2005:
Voiced the hypochondriac giraffe Melman in the animated feature "Madagascar"
2006:
Made his Broadway debut in a revival of Herman Wouk's "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" playing Lt. Barney Greenwald
2008:
Made feature directorial debut with the British comedy "Run, Fat Boy, Run," starring Simon Pegg and Thandie Newton
2008:
Directed Stephen Belber's off-Broadway play "Fault Lines"
2008:
Once again lent his voice to Melman the Giraffe in "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa"
2009:
Returned to theater, playing George Gibbs in Thornton Wilder's three-act play "Our Town" at the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago
2010:
Produced and directed the drama "Trust" about a young girl targeted by an online sexual predator
2012:
Reprised voice role of Melman the Giraffe in "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Beverly Hills High School: Beverly Hills , California - 1984
Northwestern University: Evanston , Illinois - 1988

Notes

"I think of Ross as sort of a geek in a man's body." --David Schwimmer describing his "Friends" character, quoted in Daily News, April 21, 1996.

"There's no reason in the world to do anything for money at this point in my career. I'd like to be able to look back in 20 years and be proud of my work." --Scwimmer in the New York Post, April 29, 1996.

"It's really important to me not to be known as Ross when I'm 60." --Schwimmer to Entertainment Weekly, April 26, 1996.

"[Offscreen we've been close as well.] One of the [reasons] is that the six of us actually liked each other. That's rare. . . . The second thing would be what happened to us the first year was jarring in terms of our place in the world. That sudden celebrity was so scary for all of us. Everyone handled it differently, but the only other people you could really talk to about it were the other five. We grabbed on to each other and clung for dear life."---Scwimmer on "Friends" People April 19, 2004

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Sarah Trimble. Law clerk. Together 1993-96.
companion:
Natalie Imbruglia. Singer. Together 1996-97.
companion:
Mili Avital. Actor. Met during the filming of "Kissing a Fool"; have had an on-again; off-again relationship; co-starred in the NBC miniseries "Uprising"; as of late fall 2001, reportedly no longer together.
companion:
Carla Alapont. Nude internet model. Dating as of 2002; no longer together as of August 2003; back together for a few months, but officially ended relationship November 2003.
companion:
Gina Lee. Former model, singer. Rumored to be dating as of March 2004; no longer together.
companion:
Tina Barrett. Singer. Rumored to be dating as of June 2004.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Arthur Schwimmer. Attorney. Appellate lawyer; married Schwimmer's mother in 1964.
mother:
Arlene Coleman-Schwimmer. Attorney. Handled divorces of Roseanne, Julianne Phillips and Elizabeth Taylor; born c. 1940; married Schwimmer's father in 1964.
sister:
Ellie Schwimmer. Born c. 1965.

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